PERTH AMBOY, N.J. -- Bialys, cousins to the bagel, have made a debut at a ShopRite Supermarket here.
The addition of bialys is tied to this particular unit's success with bagels, a source at store-level told SN. The store sells an average of about 33 dozen bagels a day.
Displayed in self-service bins alongside bagels in front of the service bakery, the bialys retail for the same price as the bagels: 35 cents each, $1.79 for six, and $3.49 for a dozen.
Last week bialys and bagels were offered at a special price of four for $1. Both products are brought in fresh each day from a local bagel bakery.
On a recent visit to the store, SN heard this announcement over the public address system: "New in our bakery: Bialys. Try them. A bialy is a flat, round roll topped with onion flakes. They originated in Eastern Europe."
Repeated automatically at intervals, the announcement is complemented occasionally by a live message from bakery associates calling attention to the new product.
A combination of the announcement and a 13-by-20 inch sign got sales off the ground when bialys were introduced last month, the store-level source told SN. The sign explains that bialys originated in Bialystok, Poland. It also describes the taste as a combination between a bagel and English muffin. And it says, "The texture of the top and the bottom of a bialy are distinctively different. The top is light and crunchy while the bottom is heavier and chewy."
The sign also tells customers what to do with them. "A bialy should be heated, preferably sliced in half and then toasted. It can be topped with butter, cream cheese, jelly, smoked fish, or filled with your favorite sandwich filling -- such as tuna salad, sliced turkey or even a burger," it says. At this point bagels are still outselling bialys at the store by six to one. "That allows some room to grow," the source said.
"They've done better than we expected. We brought them in because we do well with bagels and we thought, why not try these," he added.
Officials at Glass Garden, Rochelle Park, N.J., which owns this ShopRite and five others in New Jersey, could not be reached for comment.